Kennedy in Vietnam


flash cards on Kennedy's involvement in Vietnam 1961-1963
Flashcards by hanifa.hussain, updated more than 1 year ago
Created by hanifa.hussain about 8 years ago

Resource summary

Question Answer
True or False: Military spending grew under Kennedy True
What did Kennedy state about Communism during the election campaign? He promised to 'turn back the tide of communism'
Why didn't Kennedy want to abandon Vietnam? He said that 'Vietnam represents the cornerstone of the free world in Southeast Asia...we cannot abandon it'
What controversial theory did Kennedy believe in? The Domino Theory
Where did Kennedy believe the Cold War would be increasingly fought? Third World Countries like Vietnam
True or False: Kennedy did not strongly support the idea of 'Containment' False - he did support it
What did Kennedy famously state in his Jan 1961 inauguration speech? He promised to 'bear any burden, support any friend and oppose any foe' to ensure liberty in Vietnam.
What other Cold War related events lead to Kennedy's firm support of South Vietnam? Humiliation over Bay of pigs in Cuba, the Berlin Wall and dealing with USSR leader Khrushchev at Vienna Summit + the events during the Cuban Missile Crisis
When did Kennedy send VP Johnson to South Vietnam for a visit? May 1961
What was the outcome of Johnson's visit to S Vietnam? Increased US support for the Diem Government in S Vietnam
Who was Kennedy's Secretary of Defence? Robert McNamara
Did McNamara encourage further involvement in Vietnam? Yes - he believed increased military support would help Diem's govt defeat the Communist guerrillas
How many troops did McNamara advise sending to South Vietnam? 40,000
Who was Dean Rusk? Secretary of State and National Security Adviser
What did Rusk and the JCS believe the US must do in relation to Communism in Vietnam? he believed that the US must stand up to Communism in Southeast Asia
True or False: Some advisers suggested that Kennedy pull back from Eisenhower's commitment in Vietnam? False - none (ie 0/0) of the advisers suggested this, they all encouraged committment
True or False: Kennedy believed he had no alternative than to maintain support for Diem True
What did Walt Rostow and Maxwell Taylor suggest after a visit in October 1961? They recommended that combat troops be sent into South Vietnam disguised as flood relief workers
Did Kennedy agree with Rostow and Taylor's suggestions? No, he rejected the idea
What did Kennedy do instead of what Rostow and Taylor suggested? He sent further equipment and advisers
How many US advisers were there in Vietnam in 1961? In December 1961 there were just over 3000 advisers, but by the end of the year this had gone up to more than 9000
What does MAC stand for? Military Assistance Command
When was MAC created? February 1962
How many advisers were there in Vietnam by the end of 1962? 12,000
How many advisers were there in Vietnam by 1963? 23,000 US personnel were in Vietnam
What did Kennedy hope to achieve by sending in more advisers and equipment? He hoped that sending advisers and more equipment would enable the ARVN to take the initiative against the Communist Guerrillas (Vietcong)
What does ARVN stand for? The Army for the Republic of Vietnam aka the South Vietnamese Army
What was a major problem for the ARVN and US advisers? They were fighting a war against guerrilla armies - the NLF and Vietcong who knew the jungle territory well, whereas the Americans did not and were not used to such a landscape
What did Kennedy want to do to combat guerrilla tactics? implement a policy of 'flexible response' - different methods of fighting
What did the 'Flexible response' include? Sending the green berets to train the South Vietnamese Army in Counter insurgency tactics
What was the 'Strategic Hamlets' program? a large scale and expensive program that involved rounding up peasants and putting them into fortified villages to stop them helping Vietcong soldiers
When was the Strategic Hamlets program launched? 1962
What did the Strategic Hamlets program hope to achieve? The idea was to deprive the Vietcong of the support of peasants because without the peasants the VC could not survive
Was the Strategic Hamlets program successful? No, the program of rounding up people and putting them into armed stockades like farm animals was not only humiliating but also created resentment against the South Vietnamese Army. Also the VC easily infiltrated the hamlets without the govt knowing
What did Stanley Karnow point out about the strategic hamlets program? - It often converted peasants into Vietcong sympathisers - They were forced to make the hamlets and weren't even paid - They didn't consider the Vietcong as the enemy and helped them when they could
Why were the policies pushed by the ARVN with American advice ineffective in military terms? They alienated the the people of South Vietnam while the VC on the other hand paid the peasants for giving them supplies
What did the Diem govt fail to see? That they needed the support of ordinary people to win the war
What major battle happened in January 1963? The battle at Ap Bac
How many SV soldiers were killed and injured at the battle of Ap Bac? 61 died, 100 wounded + 5 helicopters lost
Why did Kennedy refuse to send more troops despite the failure at Ap Bac? He felt that if the US sent more troops, more and more would have to follow.
After Ap Bac and the failure of the strategic Hamlets program plus the difficulty of fighting a guerrilla war, did Kennedy still believe in the Domino Theory? Yes, he still did
Who did South Vietnamese soldiers fire at in May 1963? Buddhist demonstrators
What controversial event led to a surge in anti-Diem demonstrations? A monk set himself on fire before a large crowd in Saigon. Diem's sister in-law, Madame Nhu, disregarded it as a 'barbeque'
What was the Diem govt's response to this? A wave of repression organised by Diem's brother, Nhu, - but it just inflamed the situation as Saigon's prisons filled up with protesters.
What did the Diem government raid in August 1963? Several Buddhist temples
What did Kennedy do in response to Diem's actions in September 1963? He criticised Diem on public television
What finally ended the Diem regime on November 1st 1963? Diem and his brother Nhu were kidnapped and assassinated in a coup to topple the government.
Did Kennedy have anything to do with the assassination? Historians disagree over the extent Kennedy knew about the assassination, as well as the CIA's involvement. It is likely the CIA knew it would happen but did nothing to stop it It is likely that Kennedy knew Diem would have to go, if the Americans didn't get rid of him, someone else eventually would.
What pressured Kennedy into increasing involvement in Vietnam? -Not wanting to appear soft on Communism - Protect economic interests in Asia - Following after experienced Eisenhower - Appear credible after Cuba & Soviet aggression/ berlin wall - Prove US power after to Non westerners - knowledge that nuclear weapons restricted direct action between usa and ussr Containment necessary > Domino Theory
Why did Kennedy's policies fail? -Diem regime unpopular + corrupt, no support from peasants -US criticised - Counter insurgency didn't work -Vietcong too stealthy + Giap brilliant - 15,000 US advisers failed to improve ARVN, reluctant to fight - CIA gave covert encouragement to assassinate Diem
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